Recently I had the good fortune to travel from Iowa through Nebraska for a Colorado commercial photoshoot. I decided to turn this trip into a documentary photography project. The journey was pivotal for me as the people I met changed the way I looked at America.
Driving through Nebraska on Route 6, I stopped in every single town along that path. I interviewed and photographed at least one, if not several people in each of the towns. I visited many that were within 10 or so miles North or South of Route 6 as well. From Lincoln to Lamar I found Nebraskans to be very laid back. Had I taken I-80 the trip would have taken just over 4 hours but I chose to take 3 – 12 hour days. That’s right; I spent 36 hours driving through a State that most people think of as “a flyover State.”
The trip was one of the best I’ve taken. I photographed nearly 100 people and interviewed about half that number. Only two people didn’t want their picture taken but I ended up having a long conversation with one of those two. The other was just a curmudgeon. He was the only unfriendly person I met on the trip. All others were interesting; had a story, welcomed me into their space and shared themselves with me. Among the many people that shared their stories with me were a few actors, a musician, and an artist. Several small business owners including insurance sales, cabinet making, and tree removal. College students blowing glass, a Russian bride, farmers, waiters, a brewmaster, and on and on goes the list.
During this journey, an amazing thing happened, I fell in love with America and those who inhabit it. This trip made me a genuine patriot.